Get on Social Media and … What Happens?

A client recently wanted to hire me to create the content for his author website, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter pages. Yes, but I had a niggling suspicion I needed to talk to him first about his ideas about social media.

Social Media for Authors – the Answer to Promoting?

So I explained I could set these up, yes, but he’d need to then keep up the frequent postings, blog articles or whatever he planned to generate continuing interest in potential readers.

His reply:

“My one concern is whether it is necessary to perennially change posts on Facebook and LinkedIn? I would love to develop something great once and leave it.”

Ah, yeah. Wouldn’t we all. Just tell the world one time around how marvelous our book is and, “Wa-la!” sales start pouring in.

I replied:

 I think you need to reconsider just what you are required to do after you have set up these Internet author venues.

Social media means “socializing” which means interactions. I truly wish (for all of us) that a person could put up some brilliant content and leave it and forget it. But no one will find it unless you drive people TO the sites.

Which means being active in the social media venues by:

  • adding posts to your blog or website
  • joining FaceBook and Linkedin groups and posting on them
  • commenting on other people’s posts on those groups
  • tweeting and retweeting thoughts of interest to your potential readers
  • pinning images on Pinterest with comments that relate to your book’s subject
  • creating articles related to your book’s subjects and finding places to post them, etc. etc.

Agents and publishers will discover me through Social Media – Or Not!

Yeah. Another great idea–and myth.

First, you DO need to set up all these social media presences to show a potential agent and publishers that you are savvy and willing to participate in promotions. Only rarely will agents or publishers discover you this way. Few of them are out “looking” for submissions; they are overloaded with the ones that come pouring in.

You do need to have these social media venues in place once you approach agents and publishers. Authors are required by publishers these days to do LOTS of promoting and being social media active.

Can Your Web Presence Substitute for a Query?

Some authors have asked if they can’t just direct agents to their webpage. That sounds good, but the chances are they will ONLY look at those sites IF they are already interested in your book based on your query. So if your query makes them interested, they might then look at your presence online.

The query–as requested in whatever guidelines they offer–will still be your ticket to get them interested in the first place.

What’s Expected Before You Query

In today’s publishing world, agents and publishers are looking for writers who have an Internet presence AND the more active that writer is on social media, the better. The reason is simple: if they contract with you for your book, they want YOU to already have a fan-base of people interested in that book.

In other words, they already want to think there are potential buyers out there for your book. You will have done some of their marketing for them already–and they EXPECT any author they contract with to be active on the Internet to promote the book after they contract with you as well.

So … this means, basically, that to succeed as an author, you need to have these Internet sites set up properly AND you need to be active on the Internet on various social media platforms.

Understand the options in online marketing.

Here is a simple article from WikiHow that shows the very basics, but notice that being ACTIVE online is involved in all the methods: http://www.wikihow.com/Market-a-Book

What’s Next?

Be aware that setting up these sites is only the bare beginning of the marketing you will need to do.

You then need to announce those sites to the online world. Then you need to promote them. I’ll cover the basics on this in my next blog. Which brings me to …

The Client’s Response

My client wrote back, still eager to create that online presence for himself, which is great. But he ended with a hesitant note about “how much” he’d really like to push his book online.

Which will be included in my next blog–because “pushing your book” online is one of the worst ways to attract readers. More on that next time ….

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